Higlights

While the European economic slowdown and the uncertainty surrounding the political situation in the UK has impacted on the Spanish M&A market, the country’s internal affairs and political future have sparked even more profound concerns.

The Spanish general elections, which were called after the minority PSOE government had not received backing for its budget, seemed likely to lead to a coalition between the PSOE and the Podemos. A coalition of the two parties was expected to result in major amendments around SOCIMIs (REITs), which historically benefited from valuable tax exemptions and had previously led to strong activity levels in the real estate sector.

With protectionism on the rise, the coalition was assumed to increase taxes in order to slow down foreign investments into the Spanish real estate market, however the importance of international funds in the broader buyout market should not be downplayed given they accounted for 82% of the total volume of deals and a significant number of megadeals (72% of total volumes).

As of mid-June, however, it seems like the Spanish political system reached a new peak of uncertainty, with coalition talks having collapsed and rumours of a new election. A hung parliament would have a devastating impact on the energy market, however the energy policy might be lower on the political agenda in the short term.

Outside of the real estate and energy markets, however, the Spanish mid-market M&A activity levels have been stronger in H1 2019 than in any previous H1 since 2014. This is largely due to sustained foreign investments from the UK and US – a trend that looks set to continue for a record second half of the year.

Despite the political and economic headwinds, private equity investors have continued to show interest in Spanish targets, driven by a favourable investment environment and a large amount of dry powder.

The key transactions that took place during the period include:

Consumer, Leisure & Retail

  • The Carlyle Group sold Grupo Empresarial Palacios Alimentacion, the food company that produces chorizos, cold meat products, fresh and frozen pizzas, to an investor group including MCH Private Equity, Unigrains and Ardian, for an estimated consideration of €300m
  • Miura Private Equity has acquired Grupo Tragaluz, the Spain-based group with 22 restaurants located in Barcelona, Madrid and Mallorca, for an estimated consideration of €55m

Healthcare

  • Advent International acquired Vitaldent, the leading full-service dental provider in Spain and Italy with the broadest network of clinics in Southern Europe, from JB Capital Markets, for an undisclosed consideration
  • Nazca Capital along with the management of, Diater, a Spain-based biopharmaceutical company engaged in the field of allergy treatment, has acquired the company in a management buyout transaction, from Grupo Ferrer, for a consideration of €45m

Industrial Products & Services

  • InvestIndustrial acquired a majority stake in Neolith, the designer of high-end kitchens, from Mr. Jesus and Mr. Jose Luis Esteve, for an undisclosed consideration